Gannett Co. Inc. said it proposed to buy Tribune Publishing Co. in a deal valued at $815 million, including the assumption of $390 million in debt. Under terms of the deal, Gannett, which includes brands such as USA Today, will pay $12.25 a share in cash for each Tribune share outstanding, which is 63% above Friday's closing price of $7.52. The unsolicited per-share bid values Tribune at about $387.8 million, according to FactSet data on shares outstanding. In a letter to Tribune Chief Executive Justin Dearborn, Gannett Chief Executive Robert Dickey said he was "disappointed" by Tribune's response to the bid it originally made on April 12, as he feels it is "highly compelling" to Tribune's shareholders. Gannett said it believes a merger, which would close quickly without any financing condition, would lead to synergies of $50 million a year. Tribune's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has tumbled 18% year to date, while Gannett's has lost 3.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 2.3%.
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